SHARJAH // Ramadan should be used to eat healthily, exercise and lose weight, say doctors at University Hospital Sharjah.
The hospital has joined forces with the Health Department at the Supreme Council of Family Affairs in Sharjah to offer tailor-made meal plans and exercise programmes for residents who want to change their eating habits and lifestyle to be more healthy, and to help them lose weight this holy month.
The hospital’s annual fitness and health programme aims to increase health awareness and physical activity, while encouraging people to follow a low-fat, low-calorie diet.
When someone signs up to the programme at the hospital, they are weighed, measured and given appropriate meal plans and fitness routines based on their body.
Participants are encouraged to set a goal for themselves and work on achieving it.
Dr Sana Kausar, a family medicine specialist, said that for people who fast, any kind of food tastes good, so people can use that to their advantage and prepare a healthy meal.
“By simply eating a balanced meal containing vegetables, meat and one that contains carbohydrates, people can lose weight,” she said. “They should refrain from sugar-filled drinks and drink enough liquids to replenish the body after the long fasting hours.”
To break fasting, Dr Kausar advises starting with a warm soup. “People should begin their iftar with dates and warm soup before praying and, afterwards, they can continue eating their meal,” she said. “This way, the stomach can adjust to having food and start to digest before moving on to the meal.”
For the suhoor meal, in the morning before fasting, people should eat food with lots of fibre and complex carbs and fruits. “They can eat wholewheat bread, porridge, muesli, which gives them energy during the fasting period,” Dr Kauser said.
Dr Ensaf Osman, a clinical dietician at University Hospital, said that one thing to avoid while fasting was salty foods, because they make people thirsty.
She also advised that healthy food should be complemented with physical activity.
“Before iftar, people can run or take a walk for half an hour and, once they are done, they can drink water and have their meal,” she said. “This way, the person won’t have to be thirsty and wait a long time until they break the fast.
“Two hours after iftar, people can also do physical exercises, to give enough time for the body to digest the food and regain enough energy.
“If people stick to their new eating habits and physical exercises after Ramadan, it will help them to lead a healthy and proper way of living.”
Abdullah Ali Al Mayhan, chairman of the hospital, said the awareness campaign promotes self-restraint.
“Part of the many observances Muslims must heed during the holy month is self-restraint,” he said.
“This ties in perfectly with the attributes needed to live a healthy lifestyle.”
The Ramadan fitness and health programme will run until July 1.
Source: uae news